Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The World is Not Enough


I am frequently told how smart my children are.

Maybe that sounds like I'm bragging--and it's certainly not intended to be--but it is the situation that I find myself in. I have smart kids.

There was a time when I took more credit for this than I do now...a time when I thought their intelligence was simply due to the fact that they were home with me all day, rather than being farmed out to various substitute caregivers. But I have to be honest and say that not every home educated six-year-old can read at a 5th grade level, nor does every homeschooled 4-year-old understand place value. I don't fancy myself to be that stellar of a teacher. Without a doubt, much of it is inborn; or, more accurately, a gift from God.

Intelligence. A gift from God. "So, that must make homeschooling pretty easy for you, doesn't it?"


Well, in a way, yes. I suppose it does help with any motivation problems I might have to hear my 4-year-old say, "Please, mom, could we do math?...Please???".

And it does help that I can hand just about any book to my son and have him be able to read most of the words accurately (although, this causes a whole set of other problems).

But, it doesn't let me "off-the-hook". In a way, having intelligent children makes my job as a home educating mom harder.

It might be tempting for me to coast through this homeschooling thing. Tackle the three R's, impress my friends with their academic achievements, and believe that I have done my job.

But, here's the thing...

I am not afforded the luxury of raising geniuses who have no character.


This is the BIG problem with education in this country, and homeschoolers are not immune to it.

We can spend so much time trying to "prove" to everyone else that our home educated children are just as smart as, if not smarter than, their government educated peers. We can talk to death about the problems with the public school system, how bad the literacy rates are among 4th graders, how high school students don't get a course in basic economics, and how most of our kids don't know the difference between Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr.

However important these issues may be--and they are important--they still miss the greater point.

The most glaring thing missing from a government education is--GOD.

And, please, let us not think we are much better if we believe that reading a Bible verse and saying a prayer first thing in the morning is sufficient.

No, indeed, sprinkling a couple of Bible verses into an otherwise secular education doesn't make it Christian any more than standing around in a parking lot makes one a car.

Our primary goal in education must be to train up fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ. The thought of our children rejecting the Savior ought give us cause to fall to our knees, trembling and tearful. Why do we seem to miss this point? Do we really think this is the Sunday School teacher's job? Do we really believe that because our child was baptized, or "prayed a prayer" when he was five, that we can sit back, relax, and breath a sigh of relief? I sincerely hope not!

"And these word that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

We must teach every subject from a distinctively Christian perspective.  If we have a hard time understanding what that would look like, we need to re-examine our own world-view. Moreover, we must seek to lead them to Christ in everything we teach, and with our whole lives.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10


This one goal--that they KNOW GOD--must transcend everything else. If it does not, we have failed, no matter how brilliant, successful, or wealthy our children one day become.

Is "the world" enough?

"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."

Matthew 16:24-27

No, the world is NOT enough. Not even close. Not by a long-shot.

How do these words of Jesus change the way we think about our children's education? Do they?

1 comments:

Carol Flett said...

As a mom who has gone through the pain of watching a child reject the Savior, I can tell you first hand that you don't ever want to have to go there.

I wish I could give every parent a taste of how it felt. None of the pride of their accomplishments could ease the pain of seeing them reject Christ. That's part of the reason I write about it in my God Leads us Along blog: http://www.godleadsusalong.com/2010/05/broken-mom.html

I teach my grandchildren now and try, with all that is in me, to keep their focus on Jesus.

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

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